Justin Bieber Gets His Smile Back Nine Months After Facial Paralysis Diagnosis
Justin Bieber’s face was left partially paralyzed in June 2022 after he was diagnosed with Ramsey Hunt Syndrome, a rare virus that affects nerves in the face and ear. The condition caused the pop star to halt his tour – which was later quietly canceled in its entirety – but if he ever decides to get back out on the road, it would be a missed opportunity to not include My World 2.0 single “U Smile” on the setlist.
On Wednesday, Bieber shared an update on how he is recovering from the syndrome via his Instagram Story. “Wait for it…” he wrote on the video before flashing a wide grin at the camera. When he first unveiled the diagnosis, he could only smile and blink on the left side of his face, the entire right side paralyzed to the point that he couldn’t even flare his nostril.
Last year, two doctors specializing in paralysis disorders, Dr. John Oghalai and Dr. Babak Azizzadeh – neither of whom treated Bieber – explained the diagnosis to Rolling Stone, saying that since Bieber’s symptoms were contained to only one side, a complete recovery was “very promising [because] it means that not all of the nerve fibers have died,” said Oghalai.
“It may take weeks, months, or up to a year to have a full recovery,” Azizzadeh said at the time. “If individuals are treated with high-dose steroid pills and antiviral medicines, they tend to have a better recovery. That’s very important [to do] as soon as possible.”
When he postponed and canceled a slate of tour dates in North America early on in the Justice world tour, Bieber nodded to the strain performing takes on his body. “After getting off stage, the exhaustion overtook me and I realized that I need to make my health the priority right now,” he explained of a performance he completed at Rock in Rio. “So I’m going to take a break from touring for the time being. I’m going to be ok, but I need time to rest and get better.”
Days after quietly canceling the tour earlier this month, the singer made a surprise appearance at Rolling Loud California to perform “Private Landing” with collaborator Don Toliver. A few weeks prior, he attended the opening of OBB Studios, where The Kid Laroi was performing, and joined him for “Stay,” though he never actually walked onto the stage, opting to sing his verse from the stairs on the side.
Bieber has his smile back, and maybe the performance bug, too.